Prison Privatisation in South Africa: Issues, Challenges and Opportunities

"This monograph is intended to present the relevant issues in the debate over prison privatisation, examine the international experience, and to present the facts regarding the first private prison in South Africa. This monograph is important because prison is an important part of criminal justice, and the criminal justice system is a crucial part of preserving democracy in South Africa. The prison system has an under-researched and often misunderstood role in the provision of order in any country, and particularly in South Africa. Prison privatisation is an extremely controversial topic in every country where it has been attempted, yet the South African government has chosen to explore its use. The aim of this monograph is to present an overview of the main issues in the privatisation debate and draw lessons for South Africa’s privatisation process. It is not difficult to see the benefit of privatisation in this country. As the author, KC Goyer points out, "Private prisons will necessarily be an improvement on public prisons because it would be almost impossible to perform any worse". Nevertheless, there are important considerations of cost and accountability that will need to be carefully monitored by those responsible for imprisonment in South Africa."